I took J, who is 4, to his first friend birthday party this past weekend and I am so proud of him for getting out of his comfort zone and playing alongside his friends from school!
A little about J: he is a very sweet, sensitive, shy little boy and he is very attached to me and my husband and his sister. At school, I have heard that he will play alongside his friends but he doesn’t interact with them too much. Every time I have come to the school for an event, he attaches himself to me and doesn’t want to pay any attention to the other kids in his class. So when he got invited to one of his classmate’s birthday party, I was so excited to see how he would interact with the other kids there.
It was at an indoor play place that the kids and I have gone to many times and they love it, so he was very excited going into it. When we first got there, he held onto my legs immediately and said he was “tired and wanted to go home”. What I like to do with the kids if we are doing something that I fear will cause a meltdown but I am trying to avoid it, I will say to them “This is supposed to be fun; if you are not having fun, then you tell me what we can do to make this situation fun” and that is how we went into the birthday party. When he said he was tired and he wanted to leave I reminded him of all the toys we like to play with there and that I would follow him wherever he wanted to go until he warmed up.
While he did not interact with the other kids, I did get him to sit with me at a play station and we enjoyed some games together. He was smiling and laughing and making jokes and I was happy to see him loosening up. Then we ate and had cake and afterwards he said to me “mom, I’m not shy anymore” and he led me over to the area where all of the other kids were playing. He was not fully engaged with the other kids, but he also did not run away from them either. He also did not let me out of his sight, but he wasn’t totally attached to me like when we first walked in. I was so proud and so filled with joy that he was having a good time with kids his own age. Rylie talks all the time about the friends she has at school and I don’t always hear from J about his classmates so it was really nice for me to be able to see how he interacts with them for myself.
I am just so happy that J is developing this confidence about him where he feels like he can open up and be himself. It took him a little while to warm up at the party, but I knew there was a chance that he wouldn’t warm up at all and I would be stuck playing with him the whole time or dealing with him whining saying that he wanted to go home. I felt like such a proud mom this past weekend and I just wanted to share this small victory!